History of Walvis Bay in Namibia

Sea Lions Seals Colony Sea Walvis Bay Namibia

Walvis Bay is a city in Namibia and the bay’s name on which it lies. It is the second-largest town in Namibia and the largest coastal city in the nation. The city is located just north of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Kuiseb River delta. Let’s explore the History of Walvis Bay in our History article today.

The pre-history of Walvis Bay has not been adequately explored by the researchers yet. However, as per the archeological records, Walvis Bay was populated by humans for over 20,000 years. The mystically painted stone plates that survived from that time not only prove that these villages existed, they also belong among the most ancient works of art globally

Portuguese invader Diogo Cão reached Cape Cross, north of the bay, in 1485 CE. Later, Bartolomeu Dias arrived, who anchored his São Cristóvão in what is now Walvis Bay on 8 December 1487 CE, on his excursion to explore a sea route to the East via the Cape of Good Hope. He called the bay “O Golfo de Santa Maria da Conceição.: However, the Portuguese did not stake a claim to Walvis Bay formally.

At the end of the 18th century CE, Walvis Bay was founded as a stopover for sea travel between the Netherlands and Cape Town. Little commercial development transpired on the site until the late 19th century CE. During the Scramble for Africa, the British seized Walvis Bay with a small region surrounding the area. They allowed the Cape Colony to complete the annexation of the territory in 1884 CE, collectively with the Penguin Islands, following primary steps taken in 1878 CE.

In 1910 CE, as part of the Cape Colony, Walvis Bay became part of the newly formed Union of South Africa. Consequently, a struggle arose with Germany over the exclave’s borders, which was subsequently settled in 1911 CE, with Walvis Bay being allotted an area of 434 sq miles (1,124 square kilometers).

The Germans overran the exclave during the South West Africa Campaign in the First World War. Still, the UDF (Union Defence Force) of South Africa eventually ousted the Germans in 1915 CE. Later, Walvis Bay was integrated into the new martial law administration in South West Africa.

In 1977 CE, after increasing international pressure to abandon its control over southwest Africa, South Africa repealed the Act. It transferred command of Walvis Bay back to the old Cape Province, thereby making it a political exclave. From 1980 CE, it was represented in both the House of Assembly and the Provincial Council as part of the Green Point constituency in Cape Town before becoming a separate electorate in 1982 CE.

In 1990 CE, South West Africa achieved independence as Namibia, but Walvis Bay stayed under South African rule, with South Africa increasing the troops here. However, in 1992 CE, the two nations agreed to establish a transitional Joint Administrative Authority for the Offshore Islands and Walvis Bay. The Authority was managed by two Chief Executive Officers, Carl von Hirschberg, former South African Ambassador to the United Nations, and Nangolo Mbumba, then Secretary to the Namibian Cabinet.

In August 1993 CE, before the end of apartheid, the Multiparty Negotiating Forum in South Africa ultimately passed a resolution calling for “the incorporation-reintegration of the Off-Shore Islands and Walvis Bay into Namibia.” The Parliament of South Africa later passed the Transfer of Walvis Bay to Namibia Act. Following the signing of a treaty between the two nations, South Africa formally assigned sovereignty of the Penguin Islands and Walvis Bay to Namibia on 1 March 1994 CE.

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